What is 360 Degree Feedback?

Written by Explorance.

As you know, multiple feedback processes may exist in an organization as part of the employee journey. Among them include employee performance appraisals, staff wellness surveys, customer opinion surveys, and much more. But one of the most interesting and longstanding methods of giving/receiving feedback is by way of a 360 degree assessment, which continues to increase in popularity over the years.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the concept, 360 degree feedback, also known as a multi-rater or multi-source assessment, is feedback or analysis that comes from a range of individuals that work closely with a particular person within an organization. Usually, this entails everyone from subordinates, peers, to supervisors, and often will even include a self-assessment. The German military during World War II was among the first to use multi-person feedback, and the first known corporate example may have been at Esso Research and Company during the 1950s.

The point of a 360 review approach is to allow individuals to get a holistic sense of how they are perceived within an organization on a number of key developmental factors. The idea is that getting a number of perspectives (rather than just the traditional top-down feedback) will eliminate or at least reduce the biases that may exist within certain organizations. From there, the same team members who provided the initial feedback should periodically give assessments, so the individuals get an overall sense of how their development is progressing.


Case Study: Valuable 360 Reviews in 10 Countries, 3 Continents for Fidelity Marketing


Now, for the most part, this makes using 360 reviews as an element of performance evaluations even more difficult. Most organizations use 360 degree feedback for training /development purposes. However, there are still some who use 360 degree feedback to evaluate employee performance. We don’t feel that 360 reviews fit within this schema, and explore this in the next blog titled 4 Reasons Why 360 Feedback Surveys Should Not be Used for Performance Assessments.

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